LOGAN -- John G. Turner, assistant professor of religious studies at George Mason University, will discuss his controversial new book on Brigham Young from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 11 at Utah State University.
The free lecture will be in Old Main, Room 225. Members of the public are invited to attend.
The USU Religious Studies Program invited Turner to lecture about the complex character of Utah's first governor and one of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' early prophets.
Turner's book, "Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet," will be published in this month by Harvard University Press.
The biography traces the life of the church leader from his early religious experiences to the effect of church founder Joseph Smith's murder on his leadership and his longstanding battle with the United States government for control of the Utah Territory.
"I had considered writing a study of Mormonism and conservative politics since 1945, but as I began examining Mormon history, I found myself pulled toward the earlier time period," Turner wrote on his website.
Turner was drawn to the LDS Church's early history while researching American culture and politics of the 19th and 20th centuries.
His biography of Brigham Young explores the prophet's leadership and ability to sustain and advance the LDS Church in adverse times, as well as his defense of plural marriage, battle with the U.S. Army in 1857 and obstruction of federal efforts to prosecute perpetrators of the Mountain Meadows Massacre.
"(Turner's) biography will both complement and in some respects challenge the important biography written by Leonard Arrington, which until now has been the standard account," said Philip Barlow, the Arrington Chair of Mormon History and Culture and director of USU's Religious Studies Program.
Barlow said among the reasons Turner's biography is especially significant is that Turner is not himself a Mormon.
Turner studies connections between religion and American national identity, as well as the experiences of religious and racial minorities.
His first book, "Bill Bright and Campus Crusade for Christ: The Renewal of Evangelicalism in Postwar America" (University of North Carolina Press, March 2008), investigates American evangelicalism since 1945. It won "Christianity Today's" 2009 award for best book in history.